Recruitment and Retention in Western European Parliaments
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:239-279

This article reviews and evaluates recent research on parliamentary recruitment in Western Europe. It illuminates the particular difficulties of doing comparative legislative research in Europe and summarizes several important studies and their methodologies. Next, it presents a country-by-country overview of comparative and case studies on legislative recruitment. Included are the Mediterranean countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece), France, the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden), Belgium and the Netherlands, the German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), and the European Parliament. Additionally, studies on gender effects in legislative recruitment are reviewed. A final section evaluates several major substantive and methodological issues. These include the strengths and shortcomings of European recruitment research; the types of data collected and research questions answered; the common research methods and their limits; the theoretical frameworks applied; and the neglect of normative research.

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